Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Lens Review

Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Lens Review

95
APS-C E-Mount Prime Lens
CHECK TODAY’S PRICE @ BHPHOTO

In this Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Lens Review I will go over everything you need to know using some lab testing, video testing, and tons of real world photography.

This lens is designed for the smaller sensor cameras like the APS-C equipped Sony A6400 camera body which is I what I used for this review. However, this lens is also made for the Micro Four Thirds camera system as well which has a slightly smaller sensor when compared to the APS-C format. The advantage to the lens being designed for the smaller sensors as opposed to the full frame sensors, is the more compact size and lighter weight. This lens can still be used on the full frame e-mount cameras like the A7 III for example, but the camera will need to be in crop factor mode for the best results.

For all the currently available Sigma E-Mount Lenses be sure to check out my guide this way >>

At the time of this article the E-mount Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Lens retails for $479 US, but it’s currently on sale for $429 US.

The Sony A6400 is a APS-C sensor equipped 1.5x crop factor camera, so the effective focal length of the 56mm Sigma lens works out to 84mm when compared to the full frame 35mm format standard of measurement. This focal range is ideal for portraits, food photography, and many other things as you will see in the real world sample photos below.

A Closer Look


Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Lens Review – Video Version

Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Lens Review
Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Lens Review
A Killer ~85mm Effective Fast Prime Lens
At the end of the day I highly recommend the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens to anyone using a crop factor camera like the Sony A6500 and A6400, or even folks using a full frame e-mount camera in Super 35mm video mode. With an effective 84mm focal range this lens is ideal for portraits and maximum subject separation effects in particular. No optical stabilization might turn you off, but with the f/1.4 max aperture it's not really an issue getting fast enough shutter speeds to hand hold in most cases. However, if you are using the A6500 then the sensor stabilization will help you out in super low light situations when hand holding at lower shutter speeds.
Bang For The Buck
98
Feature Set
90
Build Quality and Design
98
Ergonomics
98
Auto Focus System
96
Real World Usability
98
Video Quality
96
Real World Image quality
96
Lab Testing Optical Quality
95
Lens Distortion Control
78
Low Light Performance
90
Fun Factor
100
Reader Rating1 Vote
98
Pros
crazy sharp
excellent contrast and color
lightweight and compact
very good and near silent autofocus
great overall ergonomics, build quality, and buttery focus ring
a very high value for the dollar
Cons
significant distortion
no AF/ MF switch on the lens
no optical stabilization built it
95
APS-C E-Mount Prime Lens
CHECK TODAY’S PRICE @ BHPHOTO

Real World Sample Photos

For these real world sample photos I was shooting in mostly raw quality, but a few were taken in jpeg mode. The raw files I did play with a little in Lightroom including a mild contrast curve adjustment and a little tweaking with the exposure on a few. Nothing crazy though.

Be sure to click on the photos for a larger view!

I made myself a bacon cheeseburger the other night and it was absolutely killer! Starting with the top quality original blend Pat Lafrieda burger cooked medium and encased with a double slice of yellow American. I then proceeded to spread some yellow mustard and ketchup on the lightly toasted base of a classic seeded burger roll. Next came a generous stack of crispy bacon, farm fresh tomatoes, sweat bread and butter pickles, and a healthy lathering of mayo on the very top. I washed her down with a fairly light New Belgium Voodoo Ranger IPA which was a solid pairing I thought. After devouring this tower of flavor like a starved savage animal I promptly made another to satisfy this session of pure mouth pleasure..

The Burger!
The Burger and Beer

As you can see from these Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN lens real world sample photos, it performs absolutely awesome I would say. The lens does suffer from some distortion as you will see in the testing photos below, but in the real world it’s pretty much a non issue unless you are shooting horizontal and/or vertical lines fairly close-up. You can also enable auto correction for the distortion in the camera to solve this issue for you.

Lab Testing

For this lab testing I was shooting Raw quality and made absolutely no adjustments in Lightroom, so you are seeing exactly what was produced by the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Lens and Sony A6400. I exported the raw files and 100% crops as 1500px jpegs at 75% quality and output sharpening set to screen/ low for reference.

Full Scene Test w/ 100% Crops

Here is a larger version of the full scene for reference when looking at the thumbnail size test shots below and be sure to click on the images for a much larger ~1500px version!

Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN – Lab Testing @ f/1.4

Minimum Focus Distance Lab Testing – MFD

The Minimum focus distance for the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Lens is 1.64′ / 50 cm, which is pretty good considering how compact it is. This allows you to get pretty darn close to your subjects which creates that extra buttery background separation and isolation of your subject. As the lens stops down to f/5.6 and beyond you can see some cornering off on the bokeh balls in the background, which is worth noting.

Distortion Test

As you can see from this distortion test, the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Lens suffers from a notable amount. In addition if you are shooting in Jpeg quality with the Sony A6400 camera with V2.0 firmware, the distortion is not auto corrected in the camera by default.

Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN - Distortion Test
Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN – Distortion Test

However, if you turn on the Lens Comp. – Distortion Comp feature which on the A6400 is in Camera 1 Page 2 of the menu, the distortion will be autocorrected for you. A great feature for sure!!

It is also easily correctable in a program like Lightroom when applying the lens profile correction as seen here:

Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN - Distortion Test
Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN – Distortion Test – Corrected

As you can see from the lab testing photos above the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Lens is a fantastic performer all around. Some obvious distortion is noticeable when shooting something like a brick wall, but its really the only flaw I can see that is really notable. Sharpness is excellent across the board corner to corner overall. At f/1.4 the corners are a little bit soft, but nothing to worry about in my opinion, and they tack nicely by f/2.8. Contrast, color, and overall clarity are also top notch, especially for the $479 US retail price point.

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Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Lens Accessories

Conclusions

After using the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Lens for several weeks now along with the Sony A6400 I have grown to love this lens! I have used it for portraits, food and beer photos, around the town photos, birthday celebrations, and more. With the effective 84mm focal range it can be a bit tight in certain situations when indoors for example when moving back is not an option, but other that that this lens fantastic for almost everything I tried. For tight courter indoor shooting, the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Lens which I reviewed here >>, would be a better option.

The overall optical quality of the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens is fantastic in my opinion and very similar to the 30mm and 16mm versions I would say. The distortion is notable, but easily correctable either in camera or in post.

The build quality is solid and I have no complaints about the autofocus. It’s fast and extremely quite making it really good for video as well as photography. No AF/MF switch on the side of the lens means you have to use the camera menu by default to switch, but this can be easily custom programed to a button if you use that feature a lot.

At the end of the day I highly recommend the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens to anyone using a crop factor camera like the Sony A6500 and A6400, or even folks using a full frame e-mount camera in Super 35mm video mode. With an effective 84mm focal range this lens is ideal for portraits and maximum subject separation effects in particular. No optical stabilization might turn you off, but with the f/1.4 max aperture it’s not really an issue getting fast enough shutter speeds to hand hold in most cases. However, if you are using the A6500 then the sensor stabilization will help you out in super low light situations when hand holding at lower shutter speeds.

That is about it for this review, but please be sure to comment and ask questions below if you have them!

Gear Used for review:

Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Lens Review
Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Lens Review
A Killer ~85mm Effective Fast Prime Lens
At the end of the day I highly recommend the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens to anyone using a crop factor camera like the Sony A6500 and A6400, or even folks using a full frame e-mount camera in Super 35mm video mode. With an effective 84mm focal range this lens is ideal for portraits and maximum subject separation effects in particular. No optical stabilization might turn you off, but with the f/1.4 max aperture it's not really an issue getting fast enough shutter speeds to hand hold in most cases. However, if you are using the A6500 then the sensor stabilization will help you out in super low light situations when hand holding at lower shutter speeds.
Bang For The Buck
98
Feature Set
90
Build Quality and Design
98
Ergonomics
98
Auto Focus System
96
Real World Usability
98
Video Quality
96
Real World Image quality
96
Lab Testing Optical Quality
95
Lens Distortion Control
78
Low Light Performance
90
Fun Factor
100
Reader Rating1 Vote
98
Pros
crazy sharp
excellent contrast and color
lightweight and compact
very good and near silent autofocus
great overall ergonomics, build quality, and buttery focus ring
a very high value for the dollar
Cons
significant distortion
no AF/ MF switch on the lens
no optical stabilization built it
95
APS-C E-Mount Prime Lens
CHECK TODAY’S PRICE @ BHPHOTO

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